President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday promised to continue to end all forms of terrorism in the country.
Speaking just a day after the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram killed 29 schoolchildren in Yobe State, the President said that security of Nigerians was the major concern of his administration and that the security agencies would be further strengthened to be able to combat the renewed insurgency in the North-Eastern region of the country.
In a largely uninspiring Centenary broadcast to the nation, the President said economic transformation was part of his administration’s strategy to end terrorism in the country, adding that the security agencies would be strengthened the more toward this task even though there was no detail of how his government plan to achieve this.
He said: “That is why our counter-terrorism strategy is not about enforcing law and order as we have equipped our security forces to do.
“It also involves expanding economic opportunities, social inclusion, education and other measures that will help restore normalcy, not in the short term but permanently,” he said.
He described the Yobe killing, describing the terrorists action as heartless, adding: “Just yesterday, young students full of hopes were callously murdered, while they slept in the college dormitories in Yobe State.
“We will continue to do everything possible to permanently eradicate the scourge of terrorism and insurgency in the country.
“We recognise that the root cause of militancy, terrorism and insurgency is not the strength of extremist ideas, but corrupted values and ignorance.
“I am deeply saddened by the deaths and that of other Nigerians in the hands of terrorists,” he said.
Jonathan urged Nigerians to unite in the fight against terrorism as the nation marks its centenary.
He also said the 1914 amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates which gave birth to the entity Nigeria was not a mistake and that the challenges facing the country were transient and would be overcome for the country to take its rightful place in the globe.
His words: “While our union may have been inspired by considerations external to our people; I have no doubt that we are destined by God Almighty to live together as one big nation, united in diversity.
“I consider myself specially privileged to lead our country into its second century of existence.
“I speak with you today; I feel the full weight of our hundred-year history. But what I feel most is not frustration, it is not disillusionment.
“What I feel is great pride and great hope for a country that is bound to overcome the transient pains of the moment and eventually take its rightful place among the greatest nations on earth,” he said.
Jonathan added that although the country was not yet at its destination, the citizens should, however, not lose sight of its achievements since 1914.
While encouraging the citizens to be inspired by the resilience of the past leaders to overcome the present challenges, Jonathan also emphasised that the country was a unique nation destined to be an authentic African success story.
His words: “We are a nation of the future, not of the past and while we may have travelled for a century, we are not yet at our destination of greatness.
“The amalgamation of 1914 was only the first step in our national journey. Unification was followed by independence and democracy which have unleashed the enormous potentials of our people and laid the foundation for our nation’s greatness.
“In challenging times, it is easy to become pessimistic and cynical. But hope, when grounded in realism, enables and inspires progress.
“Therefore, as we celebrate our first century of nationhood and enter a second, we must not lose sight of all that we have achieved since 1914 in terms of nation-building, development and progress,” he said.